Chapter 12: Eva
The chapter kicks off with these words, so at the very least it’s cutting to the chase:
I dared anyone to come up with a more awe-inspiring sight than Gideon Cross taking a shower.
Do recall that a mere six chapters ago, it was merely waking up to a naked Gideon Cross that did the trick for her. Is this a sign that their relationship is slowly falling to shambles?
Because the book hasn’t taken the time to explain this in, oh, roughly four pages, Eva explains how important sex is in their relationship.
I licked my lips when he casually stroked the heavy length of his cock. […] Since he’d met me, he didn’t pleasure himself anymore. Not because he couldn’t still satisfy me if he did, and not because I took care of him enough to make the effort redundant. For both of us, being ready for sex with each other was never a problem, because the hunger we felt was deeper than physical.
Just in case you skipped the first three books, and also the first 200 pages of this one.
“I’d hate to cut things short when they’re just getting interesting.”
Interesting? This happens seriously three or four times a chapter.
The book suddenly has a moment of incredible accidental self-awareness about how developed its characters are:
His face was impassive, a strikingly handsome mask that revealed nothing.
On the way to work, the Brett subplot finally goes somewhere when Eva… picks up her phone!
“Damn it, I’ve been trying to reach you for a week!”
“I know. I’m sorry, I’ve been busy. How are you?”
We are currently on page 202. Just so we’re all on the same page here (…get it? Book humor!), it has taken 202 pages for this subplot to go from 1) Brett is trying to get in touch with Eva, to 2) Eva answers a call from Brett. You are now caught up on 202 pages of this subplot.
“I’ve been better. I need to see you.”
My brows rose. “When are you coming to town?”
He laughed harshly, a humorless sound that rubbed me the wrong way. “Incredible.”
If this entire subplot is “two people are exes and hurt each other a lot when they were together but now need to preserve the friendship for some reason”, maybe… maybe show why. Like at least once.
Eva and Brett arrange to get lunch, and Eva reassures Gideon that this doesn’t mean she’s leaving him. You might think that I’m exaggerating, or that after three and a half books Gideon would maybe have gotten just a little more secure about this sort of thing, but nope.
“There’s nothing for him,” I whispered, needing him to know that. “I’m too filled with you.”
In what is either the biggest relief or disappointment in this book, the next line is not, “…your dick!”
Eva gets into the office and makes note of how much happier Megumi looks. So it this the ending of the “Megumi has gone missing subplot!” that has been going on since the last book in the series? Megumi goes missing, but then comes back and explains why, and moves on in less time than she was missing? What did this add to the story? Eva has a new personal project looking into programs for abuse survivors, sure, but is Megumi’s character going to develop from this thing that happened to Megumi?
I have some thoughts about how this is just filler that just gives the main character another thing to react to and doesn’t even flesh out the minor character involved, but this isn’t particularly funny criticism, so here’s a madlib for making your own Megumi-style subplots!
Eva hasn’t seen (minor character) in some time! Eventually, (same minor character) returns, and says that they were (some sort of tragedy, usually pertaining to sex in some way) and that they feel (adjective) about it. Eva also feels (adjective) about it, and starts (verb)-ing because of it. Oh, and (same minor character) is okay too, btw
Feel free to leave your madlibs in the comments! I look forward to reading all your accounts about the time Cary was missing for a while because he went out to get a sandwich. Which I think would actually be more than he did in the third book.
At last at work, Eva and her boss, Mark, discuss their new project – the release of the PhazeOne video game console by Gideon’s rival company LanCorp. Eva is excited about the project, but given how Gideon’s Cross Industries GenTen console also has an upcoming release, she wonders if this might be a conflict of interest. Mark responds that LanCorp only cares about “our ability to deliver their vision”, which 1) brushes off one of the only interesting questions that has ever been asked in this book, and 2) displays a severe misunderstanding of how literally everything in this story revolves around Gideon and Eva’s sex life. There’s an “actually, it’s about ethics in-” joke to be made here, I’m sure, but ugh. I can’t.
Thankfully, the matter still bothers Eva, since I do think this is an actually interesting problem.
I wanted to feel relieved, but I didn’t. If we were awarded the PhazeOne campaign, I’d be helping one of Gideon’s competitors steal some of his market share. That really bothered me.
…although this seems like another straw on the camel’s back for Eva (quite reasonably) maintaining that she doesn’t have to work for her husband’s company and she can pursue her own professional goals, even though we all know she that at some point she totally will. I guess the best that can be said for this is that we didn’t expect video games to be a partial cause of it, so at least it’s that much goofier.
Eva gets her lunch with Brett, which naturally kicks off with an entire page of narration about how Brett and Gideon are different people. Again, in case you haven’t read the first three and a half books, I guess.
Brett [shifted] in that way men moved when their sexual interest was piqued. Other men, but not Gideon. […] Gideon had claimed me . . . and given himself to me in return. With a single look.
Also how he helped her back to her feet after she literally fell over when she saw how attractive he was, which was an actual thing that happened.
So. Eva and Brett’s just friends lunch.
“I couldn’t go back to you, Brett. Not after Gideon.”
“You say that now.”
Again, if all of their conversations continue to be “I WILL GET YOU BACK EVENTUALLY” and never anything else, why is the reader supposed to believe that it’s so important for Eva to maintain a speaking terms friendship with this guy? Every. Single. Conversation. Is just Brett trying to win Eva back. Never a “so what movies have you seen recently?” or “how’s the job going?” or “Is Cary still insane, by the way?” Just constant, exhausting pleas to leave her new partner for him. Just saying, more believable literary friendships have existed between not friends.
When Brett’s latest attempt inevitably goes laughably awfully…
He pulled a folded photograph out and set it on the table in front of me.
“Look at that,” he said tightly, “and tell me we didn’t have something real.”
The conversation makes it way to the sex tape, which Brett readily admits the entire band has seen, because – I shit you not – they were watching sex tapes from all the band members to make their documentary about “the rise of the band”.
I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP.
“The whole point was to document the rise of the band, Eva. We had to sort through it all. […] The other guys had stuff, too.”
Haven’t Six-Ninths had, like, one hit song? In 2015? And suddenly the world wants to see every band member having sex? How the fuck does the music industry work in this book?
Eventually Eva storms off in anger (not before Brett goes “You need to see, Eva. Then you’ll understand.” …about a sex tape) and finds Gideon there, who has followed them to their lunch.
He’d known this meeting with Brett wouldn’t go well.
Yes, Eva. Let us look into our goddamn crystal ball and figure this one out.
As Eva’s work day winds down, she reflects on the events of the chapter with Sylvia Day’s usual quality of prose.
What an afternoon.
Yes it was, Eva. Yes it was.